Should tax advice be inherently moral?

Tax professionals should consider the moral dimension to tax when advising multinationals.

PwC's global chairman Dennis Nally has told the Financial Times that he thinks professional services firms have a big role to play when it comes to establishing "what's acceptable and appropriate".

The European Commission (EC) has announced it will investigate the tax affairs of several companies and the relationships they have had with Ireland, Luxembourg and the Netherlands.

For example, Google is accused of striking deals with Ireland to avoid paying a higher rate of tax in return for investment in the country. This has led to fears that some organisations have received deals that effectively amount to state aid.

The EC is also going to investigate transfer pricing arrangements on the corporate taxation of Amazon in Luxembourg, with vice-president Joaquín Almunia stating that national authorities "must not allow selected companies to understate their taxable profits by using favourable calculation methods".

He added it is only right that subsidiaries of multinational companies are made to pay their fair share of taxes.

Mr Nally believes that morals should always have a role to play in the tax world, as he thinks it is not "only what companies could do, but what should they do".

This puts him at odds with EY's Steve Varley, as he has confirmed there will be no shift in policy when it comes to advising US companies.

Speaking to the Times, Mr Varley said that new legislation should be brought in if the government wants to see a different outcome from the current system. He added it is not up to financial service firms to "get embroiled in politics".

With such contrasting views on the topic, finding a consensus on the best way forward could prove to be problematic. Where do you stand on the topic of tax and morality?